LEICESTER: South African made a winning start in the ICC Women’s World Cup in England with a thrilling three-wicket victory over Pakistan in Leicester on Sunday.
South Africa winning the toss invited Pakistan to bat first and restricted them for 206 for eight in their full 50 overs.
For Pakistan Bibi Nahida scored 79. She was Pakistan’s top scorer in the match.
But targets of around 200 now rarely present problems for leading women’s sides, although this one did leave South Africa with a national record World Cup chase.
For the South African women, this was not a big total. South African appeared to be in a hurry as Lizelle Lee (60) and Laura Wolvaardt (52) both scored fifties in an 113-run opening stand.
However, middle-order collapsed for 64 runs as the Proteas collapsed for 177-7, still requiring a run-a-ball 30 to win from the final five overs.
It was a task eighth-wicket pair Sune Luus (15) and Shabnim Ismail (22) were up to, guiding South Africa to a nervy opening win with an over to spare.
Earlier, opener Nahida Khan had top-scored for Pakistan with a classy 79 off 101 balls to help steer her side up to a competitive score of 206-8, but it wasn’t to be enough.
With South Africa lost six wickets for 49 runs, including three run-outs, Pakistan were amused as they got a chance to win the match, but Shabnim Ismail struck three fours in the penultimate over as South Africa won with six balls to spare.
“I looked calm but I was very nervous out there,” said Ismail. “I just wanted to get it over and done with.”